The winning designs of the Missing Middle Design Competition indicate a bright future for medium density housing in NSW and the validity of a new SEPP for medium density housing in the state.

A collaborative effort of the NSW Government Architect and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, the nationwide competition called upon architects and building designers to showcase their visions for the future of medium density housing in NSW. 

Entrants used the draft Medium Density Housing Code and draft Medium Density Design Guide developed by the state government at the end of 2016 as the basis for their designs, working within three different medium density categories considered by the government to be essential parts of a diverse and affordable housing market.

Design submissions in the competition displayed imagination in creating dual occupancy, terraces and manor homes that utilised space, light and smaller blocks as part of the medium density guide and code.

Read more: NSW Medium Density Housing Code to address “the missing middle”

NSW government architect and competition jury chair, Peter Poulet said the competition presented an opportunity to see the draft policy in action, test it and get feedback.

Poulet said these designs will contribute to the final design guide and housing code and make well-designed, low-rise medium density homes a reality through Sydney’s middle-ring suburbs and beyond.

The NSW Government is now exploring the idea of building demonstration homes based on these designs, which will help address both supply and affordability.

The jury also included National Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture winner Rachel Neeson, Partners Hill Principle Architect Timothy Hill, Parramatta City Council’s Urban Design Manager Jan McCredie, and Independent Building Designer Les Dickson.

Winners, Runners Up and Commendations


Winner – Youssofzay & Hart Architects01_DO_MH_WIN_DavidHart_Youssofzay-Hart.jpg

  • Runner up – TRIAS Architects
  • Commendation – Eeles Trelease Architects


Winner – Madigan Architecture/ University of South Australia01_MH_WIN_MadiganArchitecture_UniofSouthAustralia.jpg

  • Runner up – Kieran Ward, Graduate Architect
  • Commendation – Henry Foley and Isobel Lord


Winner  – Platform Architects01_TH_WIN_BridieGough_PlatformArchitects.jpg

  • Runner up  – Olivia van Dijk Architecture
  • Commendation – Phplus Architects